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Barons: Win streak at four after 5-3 win over Houston
Mulick goal and Michalek return makes it game of firsts
1/21/04 - by Craig Haueter

Cleveland defenseman Robert Mulick scored his first professional goal Friday night and the Sharks top draft pick from 2003, Milan Michalek, appeared in his first game after injuring his knee early in the NHL season as the Barons defeated the Aeros 5-3 before a Gund Arena crowd of 6,125. With the win, the Barons drew even with Rochester for second place in the AHL’s North Division.

Mulick, more than four years and 238 games into his pro career, shot the puck into traffic from the blue line midway through the second period. It took several detours before slipping past Houston goalie Frederic Cloutier. The tally gave the Barons a 3-1 lead that eventually grew to 5-2 before the end of the middle period. Mulick’s goal snapped a dubious AHL record for consecutive goal-less games.

Touted prospect Milan Michalek was reassigned to Cleveland this week and saw ice time Friday night as he works himself back into game shape coming off an early season knee injury. Any fears of whether he was ready for game action were quickly put to rest early in the contest. As Michalek was racing along the side boards on a Barons rush, a Houston defender checked Michalek hard into the boards and he jumped up unfazed.

In addition to Mulick, other goal contributors for Barons included Tavis Hansen, a pair of goals from Brad Boyes and Miroslav Zalesak’s 22nd goal of the season. Seamus Kotyk was superb in goal for the Barons recording 40 saves on the night and winning at home for the first time since February of last year. Especially impressive was Kotyk stopping a flurry of shots during the last minute of play after Houston pulled their goalie. The Barons return to action Saturday night at Grand Rapids before returning home Sunday to face the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks.

Barons Notes
Doug Wilson, general manager of the parent San Jose Sharks, made his first visit to Cleveland this season and watched Friday night’s game along with several members of the San Jose pro scouting staff.

The Barons four-game win streak matches the longest streak in their 2 ½ seasons in Cleveland. The Barons improved to 20-14-4-5 with the win. Last season, Cleveland did not secure its 20th victory until March 1—the 63rd game.

With Michalek joining the Barons, Cleveland now has three 1st round draft picks on the roster—Michalek, Boyes & Goc.

The Gund Arena crowd Friday night was treated to a considerable presence from Cleveland Indians prospects and members of the major-league club. They were on hand as part of an “Indians on Ice” promotion. Goalie Seamus Kotyk was unable to secure the ceremonial first pitch from Indians catcher Josh Bard, as the baseball popped in and out of Kotyk’s goalie glove.

Stars of the Game
Brad Boyes (2 goals, 1 assist, 4 SOG, +1 rating)
Tavis Hansen (1 goal, 1 assist, 4 SOG, +1 rating)
Robert Mulick (1 goal, 3 SOG, +1 rating)

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